Effectiveness of Using Smartphone Applications to Advocate HIV Screening

DOI: 10.6525/TEB.20161206.32(23).001

Song-Mao Gu, Yen-Fang Huang, Chin-Mei Liu, May-Lun Tsai,Shih-Tse Huang, Chang-Hsun Chen

2016 Vol.32 NO.23

Correspondence Author: Chang-Hsun Chen

  • Division of HIV/AIDS and TB, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan


Smartphone applications (apps) are quickly becoming the new social media for people seeking friends and sexual partners in recent years, and thus creating a high risk social environment of getting sexually transmitted diseases. In response to the rising trend of new HIV infections among young people and to enhance the advocacy of HIV testing, we use the social app that is popular for men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexual group to promote HIV testing information. We used an HIV testing questionnaire to evaluate that whether the new media strategy would encourage the high-risk group to receive HIV testing, and compare testing numbers, testing rate and testing positive rate among the MSM and heterosexual group. During the study period, the web-page viewers increased substantially, and the intervention group’s HIV testing number is higher than non-intervention group; the HIV testing rate between MSM ‘s intervention and non-intervention were 2.78% and 1.96% (p = 0.046), and the positive rate were 2.83% and 4.47% (p = 0.004) respectively; while the HIV testing rate between the heterosexual’s intervention and non-intervention were 0.14% and 0.12% (p = 0.409), and the positive rate were 0.46% and 0.63% (p = 0.281), respectively. Overall, the positive rate of HIV testing among MSM is higher than heterosexual.

The use of the social app to advocate HIV testing and health promotion can reach to the target population indeed. We recommend continued use of this innovative technology to provide HIV prevention messages instantly and more diversely, hoping to improve people’s HIV prevention knowledge and ability.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS prevention, HIV testing, New media, Smartphone applications